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Thomas Joseph "Tom" Burns


1946 - 2008 Obituary Condolences
Middletown High School math teacher and retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. Thomas "Tom" Joseph Burns, 62, passed away Tuesday, July 22, 2008, at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence, R.I.
He was the loving husband of Susanne "Sue" (Allenby) Burns. Married July 20, 1968, in Redlands, Calif., they recently shared their 40th anniversary. He was the loving father of three daughters, Kelly, Liz and Lindsey.
Tom was born in Boston, Mass., June 20, 1946. He was the son of the late Leo V. Burns and Kathleen (Quinn) Burns, and brother to Leo Burns Jr., Paul Burns and Peter Burns. Growing up in both Dorchester and Canton, Mass., Tom was surrounded by many cousins, grandparents and relatives during his childhood. He spent much of his youth involved in sports. He participated in Little League baseball and especially loved CYO ice hockey. He also spent many days working as a caddy and in the pro-shop at the local golf course alongside his brothers.
Tom attended Boston College High School, graduating in 1964. At age 18, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force where he began his 20-year military career, allowing him to enjoy his love of travel and his commitment to serving his country. Tom served his country during the Vietnam War. One of his proudest moments was his participation in Operation Homecoming March 16, 1973, bringing home American POWs from Hanoi. He was highly decorated during his military career; however, his most notable award was the Meritorious Service Medal for risking his own life in order to rescue a fellow soldier from a burning building.
Tom retired in 1984 from Holloman Air Force Base. He enrolled in college at New Mexico State University-Las Cruces, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in education, with departmental honors in social science, in 1988. He began teaching math at Chaparral Junior High and then Alamogordo High School in Alamogordo. Besides teaching math, Tom was a well respected football, cross country and track coach. Moving to Newport, R.I., in 2001, he continued his teaching and coaching career.
Tom enjoyed the simple things in life, most of all spending time with his family. He enjoyed a good cup of coffee, a crossword puzzle, a Red Sox game and a sunny day at the beach.
In addition to his wife, Sue, Tom leaves three loving daughters, Kelly and husband, Davie Salas, of Las Cruces, Elizabeth and husband, Jim Diesing, of Portland, Ore., and Lindsey and husband, Steven Montoya, of Socorro; five adoring grandchildren, Sydney, Thomas, Kyle, Emma and Megan; brothers Leo Burns Jr. and wife, Liz, of Rome, N.Y., Paul Burns of Brownfield, Maine, and Peter Burns of Quincy, Mass.; many nieces, nephews and cousins who held a special place in his heart; and his Alamogordo and Middletown High School family and friends who shared his fun-loving spirit and were always there for him.
A funeral service will be held Monday, July 28, 2008, at 9 a.m. at St. Lucy's Church, 909 W. Main Road, Middletown, R.I. A reception will follow at the parish hall. Private burial will be held for the family.
Arrangements will be announced at a later date for a local memorial service and scholarship fund in Alamogordo.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from July 27 to Aug. 8, 2008
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